Judge strikes down Wisconsin John Doe probe

A federal judge has quashed the stunningly abusive “John Doe” proceedings that had resulted in midnight raids on the homes of leading conservative activists across the state. I’ve got more in a new Cato post; fuller coverage at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Watchdog.org (and series), and the decision itself is here. Earlier coverage here, here, and here. I conclude:

The citizens of Wisconsin must now demand a full accounting of how these raids could have happened. They should also insist on changes in state law, in particular the “John Doe” law, aimed at ensuring that nothing like them ever happens again.

Update: Seventh Circuit panel stays ruling pending appeal.


  • The prosecutors behind the “John Doe” investigation are saying they will appeal to the 7th circuit. What do you think their chances of a victory at the circuit court level are?

  • MattS I think the chances are 100%. (Yeah, I peeked).

  • Actually, Mr. Fembup, they haven’t achieved victory (or defeat). They were only granted a stay on the original ruling. (Apologies if my terminology is a bit off.) It only means that they halted the destruction of the evidence that was set to take place. Until all appeals have been exhausted, the evidence cannot be destroyed. It wasn’t clear to me that the final ruling from the 7th was already determined. They merely were saying not to make it irreversible.

  • The Comrades of the Cyber-USSR
    express their irritation with this judge’s gratuitous Red-baiting invocation of a supposed “GULag.” The operations of our security organs were carried out in conformance with Constitutional law. Article 125 of the free-est Constitution in the World (aka the “Stalin Constitution”) guaranteed freedom of speech and of the press:

    ARTICLE 125. In conformity with the interests of the working people, and in order to strengthen the socialist system, the citizens of the U.S.S.R. are guaranteed by law:
    a.freedom of speech;
    b.freedom of the press;
    c.freedom of assembly, including the holding of mass meetings;
    d.freedom of street processions and demonstrations.
    These civil rights are ensured by placing at the disposal of the working people and their organizations printing presses, stocks of paper, public buildings, the streets, communications facilities and other material requisites for the exercise of these rights.
    [end quoted text]

    Notice the first seventeen words, which protect the working class from vultures like the Koch brothers. The US First Amendment could use similar clarification, though perhaps it can be provided by progressive judges without excessive formalities.

  • […] here, here, […]